Ca’ di Rajo rallies support for ‘old-style Prosecco’

As the UK’s thirst for Italian sparkling wine continues to grow, one Prosecco producer is diversifying its offer and going back to its roots, promoting one of the country’s “old-style” sparklers.

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Ca’ di Rajo’s brand of Col Fondo Prosecco is called Lemoss, which retails at around £9.50

Col Fondo is a style of Italian sparkling wine which has for generations traditionally been made at home. Cloudy and unfiltered, it is yet to achieve significant success in international markets but, due to its low sulphur content and rich history, has the potential to catch on, according to the export director of Prosecco producer Ca’ di Rajo, which is making efforts to promote the style in the UK.

“I don’t think people will move too far from Prosecco, which accounts for a third of total Italian wine exports”, said Marco Pozzi, export manager for Ca’ di Rajo. “But I think people will start, and have already started, looking at different styles. That’s why we are looking to promote Lemoss, which is unfiltered Prosecco. That’s the old style of Prosecco.”

Commercial Prosecco is made in the charmat method, fermented in large, pressure sealed, stainless steel tanks. The finished liquid is transferred to bottle under pressure, clear and filtered.

Col Fondo Prosecco meanwhile is initially fermented in a tank to around 1% ABV, before being transferred to bottle. The rest of its fermentation takes place inside the bottle, with the yeast eventually falling to the bottom. As such, Col Fondo Prosecco is typically stored standing up to ensure this sediment remains at the bottom. Unfiltered, Col Fondo Prosecco is cloudy and has a very low sulphur content, which Pozzi believes to be a key selling point in the increasingly health-conscious UK market.

“The UK market especially is knowledgeable and more and more interested in wine and natural wines”, said Pozzi. “This is not certified organic or biodynamic but on one side it gives the idea of something very genuine and traditional made in the old style. It is also very low in sulphur, much lower than the law requires for organic wines. It makes a healthy wine. We chose simple packaging to express what is a genuine product, and to give the idea of something natural on the inside.”

Ca’ di Rajo’s brand of Col Fondo is called Lemoss, which is billed as having an “intense aroma of bread crust, yeast and Acacia flowers”, with notes of “apple, lemon and grapefruit” on the palate.

Made from 100% Glera, the same grape variety used in the production of Prosecco, it contains 25mg of suphur per litre, with EU law currently permitting up to 210mg/litre in white wines.

“It is a good expression of Italian territory and culture”, added Pozzi. “This is the one and the original, what our grandfather’s used to produce – it has a history and tradition. We wanted to keep the crown caps and traditional bottle shape because that is the way they used to make it. We want to make the product on the table exactly as it was because that tradition and that must be exactly as it was.”

Lemoss retails at around £9.50 a bottle, compared to Ca’ di Rajo’s DOC Prosecco, which retails at around £11.

Last week Vinexpo CEO Guillaume Deglise named sparkling wine as the “hottest category in the world”, with the category’s popularity expected to drive a 1.8% increase in UK wine consumption from 2015 to 2019, tracking above the global average of 1.4%.

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